As previously mentioned I was in Chicago for New Years. It was much fun. I had missed having conversation that was worth having (more on that later). On Friday Rebecca and I went into downtown Chicago and ended up at the Art Institute of Chicago. We just kinda randomly went in and got more culture than we were expecting. Or at least than I was expecting. I had no idea that I was about to see American Gothic, La Grande Jatte, a Jackson Pollock, or Lilies, or VanGogh or his room or other things. It was cool. I like unexpected things like that. I love that Pollock piece. I hate American Gothic. It's depressing.
I got a new CD in Chicago: Casting Crowns Lifesong. I had heard it before but it had been a while. I forgot how much I loved their songs. Especially "While You Were Sleeping", "Praise You in this Storm" and.....ok, I like them all. I need their other CD now. Not their live one. I'm not sure why artists put live songs on CDs, or why they put out live albums. It's annoying. Not that I have an opinion or anything.
The best part about being in Chicago was the talking. Rebecca picked me up and we went to dinner where her boss joined us. We talked for about an hour or even two over some great pizza. The conversation ranged from tattoos to music to drinking to Bibles to mutual friends. Her boss is on the board of BJU and despite what that might make you think he is a very balanced person. I mean, who do you know that would somehow discover who the top CCM artist was and seek to listen to them? Then when we were talking about them (Skillett, whom I have heard of but never heard) there was no "I can't believe a Christian would listen to that." kind of attitude from him. It was a genuine curiosity as to what is so appealing about them (and others like them) to people. After we left Rebecca and I walked to her place (Itasca, the 'burb where she is, is teeny and charming) and continued the conversation until 1:30am. This time we added such things as Eschatology and if the Kingdom of God is on Earth yet or not. There was lots of talk about the baggage that often comes with being in certain sects (for lack of a better term) of Christianity. I hate that where I currently am I am made to feel that such things as my Church attendance, the music standards I have, books I might read and other superficials determine my spirituality. The Bible says you will know me by my fruit and especially by my love. Not by if I drink, read Harry Potter, wear pants to church, listen to various CCM artists or other stupidity. Total tangent: you ever notice that the World does not judge your Christian-ness based on all that but that many Christians in Fundamental circles do? The World does not care if you claim to be a Christian and drink or don't drink. They wanna see you act like it and Christians sadly don't often act like Christians to one another. I'm tired of being judged. It would be nice if more people were like Chuck (Rebecca's boss), when we were talking there were things it was clear he did not agree with us on but you could tell he was not, in his mind, questioning our spirituality, or worse, our salvation.
Anyway, a guy in Rebecca's church had a New Years Eve thing and she and I went. It was lots of fun (2 Baptists, 7 PCA's/4 lawyers, 2 engineers, 1 teacher, 1....I can't remember what he did, and 1 construction project manager). Again, conversation ranged all over; misconceptions we had as kids, things God did for us in the past, things we were hoping for in the future, things pertaining to the South, music, TV, baggage again...I could keep going. There was lots of laughter. Especially as the night wore on. But again, the conversation is what made it great. It was fun yet saddening; I had more/better Christian fellowship in those seven hours than I have had in the last year. I don't fit the prescribed Christian mold here. I do what I am supposed to do contractually but it's hard not being able to be myself and share opinions and thoughts that I know people will disagree with and we can still go away with respect for the other person. And despite the assurances from some that I am never judged there are times when that is certainly not the case.
I just don't know about next year. There is one thing and one thing only keeping me here: these students are my life right now and I can't imagine leaving them. But another year of the above? I don't know if I can do it. There are times I feel as if I'm going to have a break down. Also, to be dead honest, as much as I blow it off I do indeed want to eventually get married and the fact of the matter is: the likely hood of finding someone here is pretty slim at best. (Don't worry, I'm not going to come back to the States just to find a husband. I do want to get married but it's not a priority yet.) Having students ask me on a weekly basis when I'm getting married does not help matters. Don't get me wrong, being single's cool; I doubt I'd be here if I were married and I know I'd not have have some of the opportunities I've had were I married. It's just...
All of this stuff I've given to God. These are just some things that are in my head about all of it. I'm so glad God is in control!!
Ok, wow, this post took a totally different direction than I was originally going. I've never ever posted anything like this I don't think. Whatever, first time for everything.